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Here's a bit of serious for you, from Nicholas Carr's "The New Narcissism":

As I myself have thought about the watery philosophy and the powerful technology that dovetail so neatly in Web 2.0, I've become convinced that we're building a machine that will, to great and general applause, destroy culture.

More provocation than fully developed thesis, this is what made me think today.

I don't think he's right, and I think there are the Long Tail arguments to support my opinion, but only if you understand that the "pure" LT position isn't that LT automatically equals quality. Rather, it's that LT outlets lower the threshold for sustainability of niche opinions, texts, communities, many of which will be crap, and a few of which we'll have been glad to have. I'm thinking here, for example, of the way that Anderson describes Netflix's ability to sustain a market for documentaries.

But I appreciate Carr's willingness to poke at the near-sacred way that plenty of LT (and Web2.0) arguments simply take for granted that more = better. I guess I feel that the opposite case (more = worse) is no more accurate...


Interesting. For me, the narcissism argument resonates with Christine Rosen's "egocasting" and Thomas de Zengotita's "numbing." And maybe even Gee's argument about "customization." I'm also of the feeling that Carr doesn't get it quite right, but there's something to that interesting synchronicity around issues of technology and affect, and it's not just a generation-gap thing.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on February 17, 2006 4:05 PM.

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